Contradicting Popular Opinion:
An Enquiry Concerning Why Your Favorite Movie Sucks
After much delay, I finally ended up renting AVP: Aliens v. the Predators of the board of education of Topeka, Kansas. At least, I think that that was the subtitle. I could be wrong. Upon completion of the film, one question kept flying around, inside my brain like a moth in a church steeple.
In the immortal words of Richie Cusack:
How do you f*ck that up?
Our first ground rule: Let’s just ignore the Dark Horse comic series, and just focus on AVP in the context of the respective movie worlds of the Aliens and the Predators.
AVP stars Sanaa Lathan as Alexa Woods, some sort of philanthropist/adventuress who knows a lot about walking on ice. I had more recently seen Lathan in the inter-racial rom-com Something New. As such, perhaps it was only in my projection that there existed a romantic sub-plot between her and the main Predator.
Alexa Woods is one of the many specialists assembled by Very Rich Guy (B-movie staple Lance Henriksen) in order to investigate a hidden temple under Antarctica. It takes about 45 minutes to introduce and develop this team of fully realized, three dimensional characters such as:
Awkward Scottish Chemist
Hunky Italian Archeologist
Black Dude with English Accent
the guy that stands near Hunky Archeologist
and the rest.
It takes about 5 minutes to kill off most of them, and an additional 5 to kill off all but Lathan, our final girl.
Now, I could be wrong, but it seems to me that we have had about 6 movies worth of set-up to this film. We should be able to jump right into things. By the 20 minute mark Aliens should be doing their Alien thing, and the Predators should be predating. No wait, that makes predating; that means something else.
But, by acknowledging the previous films, one might ask such questions as:
The first Predator movie was in a jungle. The second was in the city during a big heat wave. They seem to like things very hot. Why would they set up a base in Antarctica?
If they set it up before it was icy, why would they keep going there when it did get icy?
How come they aren’t wearing parkas or mittens or some sort of differing armor to deal with the cold?
People knew about the events of Predator in Predator 2. How come nobody knows about them now?
What happened to the time span between face hugging and chest bursting? It is almost instantaneous in AVP when compared to Alien. (Except for the final chest bursting, that is.)
And, while we’re asking questions anyway:
How did so many Aliens get so big so fast? They all went from little chest bursters to full grown xenomorphs in the blink of an eye. (Resisting “they grow up so fast” jokes.)
Or how does Lance Henriksen’s nebulizer make such a powerful blow torch?
Or, let’s bust our the calculator. The pyramid is 2000 feet below the surface, which is ludicrous enough. The happy fun ice slide to get down there is in the whaling station, and was cut at a “perfect 30 degree angle.” I assume that is with respect to a vertical, as the slide looks fairly steep. So we have a 30/60/90 triangle, whose sides are always in a ration of 1: radical 3: 2. The pyramid is alleged to be “directly below the whaling station.” But Trigonometry says that they will have traveled horizontally 1,155 feet by the time they reach the end of the tunnel.
What happened to the other Alien-Predator temples? If they were all exploded, wouldn’t that leave an impression on neighboring tribes? And how come there are no descriptions of Aliens or Predators by any Cambodians or Egyptians?
Why would this temple contain all three languages (Aztec, Egyptian and Cambodian) when no other temple we’ve ever seen did?
Why is there so much superfluous goddamned backstory about these temples anyway?
Why would the Predators be on an Earth calendar of 100 years?
And if the Predators come to Antarctica every 100 years, how come there is only ancient stuff in their temple? Do they hire cleaning ladies to take out all the shit less than 500 years old?
Are these cleaning ladies Polish?
At one point the archeologist says. “the Aztecs used metric time; I’ll bet these rooms change configuration every ten minutes.”
A.) Since when is a minute metric?
B.) How and why would a Mayan or a Predator know or care what a minute was?
C.) Didn’t the Aztecs use a base 20 system anyway?
October is summer in Antarctica. It is day all the time. Why does it look like night?
How come nobody is covering their face on this expedition to Antarctica? Aren’t they f*cking cold? Hell at the end of the movie, Alexa might as well be naked for all the clothes she is wearing, and she doesn’t even look slightly chilly.
How could the Scottish dude fire 12 shots from that 9 shot Magnum?
Who was in charge on continuity here, and can I stab them?
Why in the name of all that is good and holy did they not make this to be an R-rated film?
I was considering doing a section of better ways to do this film, like, you know, setting the film in a jungle or in a ghetto or in the future or on a space station or in the future, etc.
The problem is that there are too many ways to do this film better. The only things I appreciate about this movie are:
B. The main character is a strong black woman who never utters an inner-city catchphrase.
So instead I leave it up to you, the reader, to propose a way that AVP could have been worse.
As always, e-mail WBXylo at gmail.com